The Missoula City County Health Department’s registration for Tuesday and Wednesday’s vaccination clinics at Lucky Market was rushed, with the 4:00 p.m. signup announced only an hour earlier at 3:00 p.m.

All 400 vaccinations were snapped up in less than eight minutes.

Nick Holloway is the Public Information Officer for the department of Emergency Services COVID 19 vaccination team. Holloway said the small size of the two clinics necessitated the online only signups.

“Those were fairly small clinics and they didn't want to do a call center piece to those small clinics, because it just wouldn't make a lot of sense with that short turnaround time for that small number of folks,” said Holloway. “So, I expect that to change and get a little better but I would chalk that up to trying to improve our processes to meet people's needs in a in a better way.”

Holloway brought a sigh of relief for those who don’t have internet access or simply don’t have the skills to navigate the COVID 19 dot website.

“If the playing field was level and they were all using the online portal, then they indeed would be at a big disadvantage,” he said. “But what we've done is set aside a certain number of appointments for every clinic so that they can call in and use that 258-INFO (4636) number and have our call takers help them sign up. And as you know, we are strongly encouraging folks that can self scheduled to use the online portal and not to tie up our lines so that those folks that don't have internet access can use the call center for themselves and that way, it's just more efficient for everyone.”

Holloway provided a percentage of the vaccinations held back for phone-in patients.

“We found that about 17 ½  percent of the folks did need a little help just solely based on the numbers we get in our call center, and so we provided a little bit of a buffer and made it 20%,” he said. “We're looking at changing that around again, it may go a little higher, but for now it's somewhere in the 20% neighborhood.”

The next vaccination clinic is scheduled for Wednesday at Lucky’s Market in Southgate Mall, but all those spots are already filled.

In addition, due to inclement weather, the Missoula City County Health Department also announced on Tuesday that it is canceling their mobile testing services to Seeley Lake, Lolo, and Frenchtown this week due to hazardous weather and road conditions.


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